Venice, Johannes de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, et Socii, 1483 (17 May)
The complete works of Horace with the commentary of Cristoforo Landino, a copy owned and annotated by the Augsburg jurist, collector, and scholar Konrad Peutinger (1465–1547). In the early 1720s, when the first of Peutinger’s books and manuscripts entered the market, it was bought by the English bibliophile Edward Harley (1689–1741) for the Harleian Library. The book passed thereafter through the hands of the bookseller Thomas Osborne into the library of Bryan Fairfax (1766-1749), thence to Francis Child (c. 1735–1763), and by descent to Victor Albert George Child Villiers, 7th earl of Jersey (1845–1915), whose Osterley Park Library was sold in 1885. Since then, it has been in the William O’Brien (1832–1899) collection, its Peutinger provenance unrecognised.
Nuremberg, Printer for the Sodalitas Celtica, 1502 (5 April)
First printing of the Amores, four books of vivid erotic poems, the major work of the imperial poet laureate Conrad Celtis. The title woodcut, depicting the author in his study, and four topographical woodcuts are believed to have been devised by Celtis himself, and executed by a single cutter, variously identified as Peter Visscher the elder, Peter Visscher the younger, Jacopo de’ Barbari, or Hans Süss von Kulmbach. Two other woodcuts, the “Allegory of Philosophy” and the dedication woodcut, are universally acknowledged as Dürer’s work.
This volume of verse by “uno amoroso giouane meser Camillo di Porti gentihomo Vicentino” (folio A1 verso) is representative of a type of popular literature published across Italy in the sixteenth century which seems to have been read almost out of existence. Often printed during the pre-Lenten carnival (February-March), the books celebrate in verse the women of particular towns; many are by authors otherwise unknown; all survive in very few copies. Our book is not cited by the principal authority on early Perugine printing, Giovanni Battista Vermiglioli; no copy has yet come to the attention of the editors of EDIT 16; and we trace no copy in other online and printed library catalogues accessible to us.
Venice, Giovanni Antonio dei Nicolini da Sabbio, 1534
Very rare volume of verse in praise of the noblewomen of Venice, loosely organised in four parts, commencing with thirteen stanzas of ottava rima on Venetian women in general, then (after a pictorial sub-title) twenty-two stanzas of ottava rima with headings associating specific women with the tarocchi trumps (Major Arcana), next twenty-one stanzas of ottava rima addressed to the author’s “Fenice”, and lastly two quatrains and two stanzas of terza rima. No other publication of the author is known.
Six copies are recorded of this plaquette, a poem (198 lines of decasyllabic couplets) written for the marriage of François I's eldest surviving daughter, Madeleine of Valois, to King James V of Scotland, solemnised in the cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, on 1 January 1537.
The first printed collection of letters by a living person in the volgare, a major event in the history of the Italian language. It inspired a flood of lettere volgare, both the collected letters of individuals and anthologies, perhaps the most distinctive product of Italian literary life in the mid-Cinquecento. This first edition has been pursued by collectors since the eighteenth century and is widely recognised now as a rare book. Six other copies are known, of which two only (London and Munich) are complete. Our copy lacks eleven leaves, including the title and final leaf, both of which were adorned with a woodcut portrait of Aretino set within an architectural frame.
Naples, Giovanni Giacomo Carlino & Antonio Pace, 1594
First edition of a five-act pastoral drama in verse, dedicated by its author to Giambattista Caracciolo, Marchese di Brienza, and also by the poet Giovanni Battista Vitale da Foggia to Vincenzo Filingieri, who is reported here to be the model for the character of Dameta. Inspired by Tasso's Aminta (1573) and by Guarini, Noci's plot hinges on the eponymous heroine returning to Arcadia after an absence of four years disguised as a boy, to find her lover courting another nymph. It was the one of the direct sources of The Queenes Arcadia (1606) by Samuel Daniel.
One of very few books recorded in the library of the English court portraitist Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), inscribed by him with no less than six different monograms, and with a rapid landscape sketch on first flyleaf. The volume was subsumed for more than 200 years in the famous Isham Library at Lamport Hall, then in the collection of Charles Fairfax Murray, before passing in 1924 through the hands of Maggs Bros. into private collections, from which it has just emerged.
Bound with Tasso (Torquato). Godfrey of Boulogne: or The recouerie of Ierusalem. Done into English heroicall verse, by Edward Fairefax Gent. And now the second time imprinted, and dedicated to His Highnesse: together with the life of the said Godfrey. London: Printed by [Eliot’s Court Press, for] Iohn Bill, 1624.
Description of ‘The fountains of the Ardennes’, an entertainment (tournament on horseback and dance) performed by the Accademici Rugginosi in the Palazzo della Gherardesca (Casa Rinaldi), on 3 February 1622. The librettist was Andrea Salvadori, from 1616 to 1628 the principal author of texts for theatrical entertainments at the Florence court. Music for the spectacle (now lost) was composed by Marco da Gagliano and scenery designed by Giulio Parigi.
First edition of this five-act verse drama (with a chorus following Act IV), the “acknowledged masterpiece of Seicento tragedy” (Cambridge History of Italian Literature), first performed on 31 May 1655, by twelve Paduan gentlemen with Sertorio Orsato taking the role of Aristodemo. The play was afterwards revised for publication by the author, who incorporated advice tendered by several friends. This first edition is scarce: no copy is listed in the printed catalogues of Italian plays in the Folger Library, universities of Chicago, Illinois, Toronto, or Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome.
First edition of “Bacchus in Tuscany”, a dithyrambic poem of a thousand lines, begun in 1666 and finally published in 1685 with copious annotations. The poem recounts the passage of Bacchus through Tuscany, accompanied by Ariadne, satyrs, and bacchantes, during which a number of local wines are sampled and evaluated, as well as other drinks such as tea, chocolate and coffee. The work is “one of the most famous panegyrics on wine ever written” (Simon) and was reprinted in at least forty-one editions.
First edition of six satirical dialogues in Bolognese dialect celebrated for their social observation of the theatrical and musical life which the author knew as a librettist and for their influence on the tradition of the commedia improvvisa. The work is illustrated by a print of ten women”alla banzolà”, engraved by Giacomo Maria Giovannini (unknown to both Bartsch and Le Blanc).
A book in sheets (twelve sheets 450 × 345 mm, each imposed with eight pages; and three half-sheets 225 × 345 mm, each imposed with four pages), apparently complete, making-up as a quarto of 108 pages. The work is a eulogy in verse of Eleonora Maddalena Teresa, Pfalzgräfin von Neuburg (1655-1720), third wife of Leopold I (1640-1705), and mother of the reigning Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740), to whom it is dedicated by its author. Although properly licensed, correctly imposed and printed, the book may never have been issued: there is no trace of it in relevant bibliographies, and no copy has been located in a thorough search through a broad range of printed and electronic library catalogues.
A remarkable copy, printed on blue paper, of Zatta’s lavishly illustrated and ornamented edition of Ariosto, one of “les chefs-d’œuvre du livre illustré vénitien du XVIIIe siècle” (Maria Teresa Caracciolo). All copies of the edition feature a suite of sixty-six full-page engraved plates and in addition fifty-one engraved “Argomenti”, numerous initials, head- and tail-pieces. Only a small number of special copies – we are aware of about twenty besides our own, printed on vellum, carta azzura, or two sizes of carta d’Olanda – were further embellished by figurative engraved borders enclosing every page of text. These special copies are prized by collectors, who have paid dearly for them from almost the moment of publication to our own time.
A magnificent production of the Bodoni press, offering a new text based on the editions printed in 1581 and 1584, and on some autograph notes by Tasso collected by the editor, Pier Antonio Serassi (1721-1791). The work is dedicated by the printer (in versi sciolti, composed on his behalf by Count Carlo Gastone della Torre di Rezzonico) to Carlos IV, King of Spain, who in 1793 had bestowed upon Bodoni an annual pension of 6000 Reali and the title “Typographer to His Majesty”. Four editions were printed, in foglio grande (in two volumes, with three cantos printed on each page), in foglio mezzano (in three volumes, with two cantos printed per page), in foglio piccolo (in two volumes), and in quarto (in two volumes). According to the earliest bibliographers of the Bodoni press, Francesco Fusi and Giuseppe De Lama, the edition in foglio grande appeared first, limited to just 130 copies.
One of the last and least-known of Bodoni’s type specimen books, presenting forty componimenti poetici by De Rossi, director of the Reale Accademia Portoghese di Belle Arti in Rome, each poem set in a different Bodoni type opposite a “love emblem” (Praz) engraved by Francesco Rosaspina (1762-1841). According to the printer’s friend and biographer, Giuseppe De Lama, writing in 1816, 100 copies were printed, of which “non più di sei esemplari si tirarono coi contorni” and four copies coloured by Antonio Pasini. In 1948, Giani corrected De Lama’s arithmetic, claiming an edition of “sei esemplari coi contorni, quattro miniati da Antonio Pasini e quaranta normali… Preziosi edizione di 50 esemplari irreperibili”.
(19 cm), 6 p. l., 11-114 p. front., ports. Publisher’s printed cloth, photograph laid to upper cover. - First edition. ¶ Pencil ownership inscription dated 1943 on endpaper; otherwise a fine, unmarked copy.